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Winter Capsule Wrap-Up (And Spring Preview!)

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Hi ho, here we go. I am officially transitioning into my Spring capsule (full capsule will be on the blog next week!), but, in the meantime, I’d like to share my official thoughts on my first capsule wardrobe go-around.

Let’s start with some of the issues.

When Weather Rules Your Life

You guys, Oklahoma weather is insane. Completely unpredictable and a real pain in the ass when it comes to choosing from a limited amount of clothing picked for a particular season. If I were still living in Southern California, wearing a capsule would be a total breeze, so you ladies out there, I don’t want to hear any complaints, you hear? Take a gander for yourself.

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Depicted here is a random week of weather in March. In Newport Beach, it’s basically sunny and 70 every day. Multiply that by 49 and you have the entire year of weather in Southern California. (I subtracted 3 weeks for those random times when it rains for 5 minutes or the Santa Ana winds blow, which by the way, have nothing on the winds sweeping down the plain, believe you me.)

Now, let’s take a gander at Oklahoma City’s weather. As you can see here, it was freezing and snowing and gusting wind, however, never fear, the weather quickly warmed up to 64 and sunny within a few days. The problem? Well, next week was freezing again. And then it was hot. And then it was cold. Followed by some more hot and cold and rain and wind. You see, Oklahoma has four seasons WITHIN EACH SEASON. I, without a doubt, experienced Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall during the last three months.

This poses a bit of a problem when it comes to wearing a capsule, as you can imagine, and from what I’ve heard, Spring is just as tricky here. (It’s 75 and sunny right now, with wind gusting so hard my trash can just flew down the street.) I somehow will need to prepare myself for every kind of weather imaginable for the next 3 months. It’s gonna be fun.

When Rule-Following Becomes Generalized Stupidity

I had a moment a few weeks ago. I was standing in my closet, getting ready for an event in one of my very few evening/night out options, and remembered I had the Perfect Pair of Shoes for the ensemble I was wearing. That Perfect Pair was sitting in the very back of my closet with the other shoes not deemed worthy of my winter capsule, and I knew they were exactly what I needed to wear.

I owned them. They were within 5 feet of my person. They were the perfect choice. Yet I couldn’t wear them.

At that moment, I believe I said (with great force), “THIS IS SUCH BULLSHIT.”

Because, you guys, it kind of is. I am down with so much of the capsule mentality, but come on now, if you already own a pair of shoes that you really want to wear, then by all means, WEAR THEM.

(I didn’t wear them for I am a Rule Follower. In fact, I never broke the the rules, except for snow and rain boots.)

When Two Weeks Is Simply Not Enough Time To Plan/Purchase For The Next Capsule

Another geography-related issue, living in a city that doesn’t have, how do I phrase this, the best shopping, when I wanted to find a couple of new items for my capsule, I had to do all my shopping online.

Sourcing items + Shipping times + My Newfound Appreciation For Making Sure The Item I Buy Is EXACTLY What I Need = A Lot Of Receiving And Returning

For example, when I finally retired my decade-old trench coat, I wanted to make sure my new one would last another decade. This involved a lot of back-and-forth with retailers, and two weeks just didn’t hack it. (I’m still waiting on a few transactions to go through…anyway, I don’t know how to remedy that exactly but wanted to put it out there. I guess the remedy is to never buy anything again, which, ahem, will not be the path I take.)

When The Laundry Never Seems to Stop

Ladies, you have to stay ON TOP of your laundry. When I had 100+ items of clothing, it was easy to find something to wear, but when you wear the same white button-up and chambray button-up for what seems to be eternity, those puppies are constantly needing to be laundered. Just a thought.

When You Really Think You’ll Wear An Item But Never Do

This is understandable – I mean, one of the best reasons to start a capsule wardrobe is to hone your own unique style, and it obviously takes some time, but it sucks when one of your 37 items gathers dust. My item was a plaid dress. Poor lonely dress. Listen, I like dresses in certain seasons, but I’m not really a dress or skirt wearer in the winter. Yet, I thought it would be downright ridiculous not to include a dress or skirt of some sort for an entire season. Come on. Would I really wear pants every day of the winter season? Why, yes, I did.

Moral of the story – don’t think you need to include an item just to include it. If your capsule seems like it doesn’t have everything it should based on other capsules, don’t fret. Stick with what feels right.

So, yes, there were some issues. Enough to make me bid adieu to the capsule wardrobe concept?

Hell to the no! And here’s why.

1. I still love everything in my closet. (Well, except for the dress.) Am I ready to retire some pieces? Hell yes. But I’ll definitely wear them again when the appropriate season rolls back around.

2. While I definitely struggled with wanting to wear something new once in awhile, I still felt completely put-together and stylish while wearing my capsule outfits. Every day.

3. Getting ready for the morning has become the easiest part of my day. SO simple.

4. Wearing a capsule wardrobe is a great conversation piece. I have had so many discussions about capsule wardrobes with friends and new acquaintances over the past three months.

5. Impulse buying is completely eliminated. First off, you can’t shop for the majority of the challenge, and when time comes to purchase a few items (if need be), you get mega critical about what items deserve your moolah. What a difference, you guys.

6. Like any challenge, seeing it through feels great. Hooray!

So, are you planning a capsule wardrobe or have you been wearing one? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and if you are wearing a capsule and blogging/Instagramming it, leave me a link so I can check it out!

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21 Comments
  • Rachel

    March 25, 2015 at 8:09 am

    One tip I would give you that you probably have already seen is not including shoes in your item numbers. I found this helps me a lot because of the exact issues you speak about above. I live in the Midwest as well and the weather is so crazy.

    One more tip is that I keep two seasons clothing out at a time and rotate only based on the time of year. So right now I have my winter and spring capsule in my closet. It just makes more sense because of the weather crazies! We get the same sleet one day and 80 degrees the next and I refuse to be uncomfortable! This works well for me and depending on the weather I choose from whichever capsule. Ex: In the fall I keep my summer/fall stuff out (because lets face it, a lot of days in fall are warmish). In winter I kept the fall and winter stuff. NOw I have winter and spring. In a few months Ill have spring and summer. It just makes sense to me! I hope this helps some mid westerners!

    • whoorl

      March 25, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Thanks, Rachel! Yes, that is one change I’m making for Spring. I’m not counting shoes already in my closet in the number, and I think my overall capsule number will be in the low 30s. (Not sure yet – still trying to decide on some items!)

      I also love your idea for two seasons at a time – that is so smart for this kind of weather. And you are so right – I’m not doing this challenge to be uncomfortable, so it’s important to make it work for each person individually.

    • Kelly

      March 25, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Yes! Midwesterner here, and I do the same thing. I use two capsules at a time and switch out the oldest season for the newest season halfway through the current season. So I end up having:
      Fall + Winter
      Winter + Spring
      Spring + Summer
      Summer + Fall
      I do this for practical reasons (weather) and also because it depresses me to force myself to wear winter clothes on those warm, sunny, early spring/late winter days or to wear fall clothes when the holiday season is approaching and I want to be festive and cozy. I tend to make my capsules a bit smaller and with more overlap since this approach inevitably causes me to have more clothes to choose from overall. This mid-season refresh also helps me to not get as bored with my clothes, as I can mix and match new outfits once I switch out the midseason capsules.

      • whoorl

        March 25, 2015 at 10:36 am

        Awesome, Kelly! So what would you say is a ballpark number for your capsules? So curious!

        • Kelly

          March 25, 2015 at 12:33 pm

          My fall/winter capsule had around 30-35 clothing pieces (shirts, sweaters, pants, skirts, dresses). I do not count jackets (leather, jean, sherpa, utility, etc.) or coats (winter, trench, dress) because I find my needs to be so varying with the weather, and sometimes they are not really a part of my outfit; I just have to wear one for protection from the elements. =) I normally have 4 to 5 jacket/coat/vest options per season.

          My spring/winter capsule has closer to 40-45 pieces because I find that while I can get away with wearing my normal wardrobe to my fairly casual work environment in the fall/winter, I cannot do this in the spring/summer. (Shorts and some summer tops, skirts, and sandals are not appropriate.) I need alternate pants/skirt options for work during spring/summer, and I also need more layering pieces so that I can make my outfits work appropriate. I find that I have much more clothing overlap between spring/summer and fall/winter than I do for summer/fall and winter/spring.

          I try to keep 10 shoe options available at any time, so I will switch out pairs as the weather changes. e.g., I have sandals in my spring capsule, but I will not be bringing them out until it gets warmer. I will switch out some boots at that time.

      • Rachel

        March 25, 2015 at 11:54 am

        Glad Im not the only one! :) I tend to have full capsules (36 items each) even though I have two out at a time because I find that I use them all and since IM often wearing them on and off for 6 months it helps me not wear out certain items too fast. I love them all and this helps me mix and match (ex: I LOVE shorts with long sleeves or sweaters in fall before it is too cold). I find this also helps with the laundry conundrum Sarah was talking about! I do have some heavy hitter neutrals still, but it certainly helps having this system.

  • Olivia

    March 25, 2015 at 8:57 am

    I think I have a capsule wardrobe by accident. It happened because we are still, 8 months later, in a temporary apartment and half my clothes are in storage. I also sort of found a style I finally, at 36 years old, love and feel completely myself in. So, where I’ve needed to buy a few pieces since so much of what I have is inaccessible, I’ve been sticking to this new style and that has kept me from making impulse purchases. Mine is more of a cold weather/hot weather capsule, though, and not strictly seasonal.

    • whoorl

      March 25, 2015 at 9:23 am

      That’s great, Olivia! It feels so good to finally get into a groove with your own style.

  • Jill

    March 25, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Well, damn it now there friend! You have gone and convinced me to try this process for spring! UGH – I am also a rule follower and I was waiting to see how it’s been going for you and what struggles you’ve had. Seems reasonably easy to live with the few issues that you’ve had and the idea of less time picking and choosing an outfit in the morning is SOOO appealing!!

    I will definitely be keeping the shoe count out of the capsule. New York weather is pretty season specific but still…it’s shoes.

    OK – now onto the fun!

  • Robin

    March 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I would love it if you could write about finding the right clothes for your body type. It’s a selfish request, because I have a similar body type but you look way more put together than I ever manage (which may have a lot to do with my never-sleeping toddler, but a capsule wardrobe would help even more here).

    Help us long torsoed ladies out!

  • Amy @ MomAdvice

    March 25, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Ha! You sound like me! So….I don’t count shoes or accessories in my number because you can’t in Indiana. It’s like a state rule. I also let myself have one steal a month (very nice, indeed!) when I start to get bored and want to shop, and each month you can take one piece out and weave a new one in on Project 333 so I gave myself that rule too. It helps A LOT.

    Love this glimpse at your Spring wardrobe, Sarah! I just love your style, lady!

  • Brittany M

    March 25, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    I’m not sure if someone already posted this but I know Caroline over at Un-fancy has a separate nice occasion capsule with 3 dresses and corresponding shoes. I think she did it because she thought it was silly to let those items take up space in her capsule wardrobe when they were worn so infrequently. I also think that over at Project 333 one of their rules is that you can trade out an item if it isn’t working for you. But there’s a limit to the trades. It may just be a matter of making the capsule work for you.

  • Daisy

    March 25, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    I love the idea of capsule wardrobe. I’m working on building one for myself, but I’m coming from a different place than you! It sounds like your frustration, aside from weather, is from restricting your clothing choices. I think I will end up with many more options by the time I have finished. My wardrobe is full of clothes, but most of them are unsuitable and do not get worn. I’m working on getting rid of them and building a small, yet versatile capsule wardrobe. Believe me, I won’t be missing any of the items that don’t make the cut!

  • Megan

    March 26, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    This has nothing to do with this post, but I thought of you. Handsome bearded Swedish dads – I mean, seriously!

    http://moment.photoshelter.com/gallery/Swedish-Dads-by-Johan-Bavman/G0000NbzQoYfKfSQ/1/C0000hdAVc9ttou8

  • shelly

    March 26, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    I am contemplating a capsule wardrobe lifestyle but I think would need two per season, one for work and one for play. its just so daunting.

  • Colleen P.

    March 26, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    I grew up just outside OKC, I totally understand your frustration! Spring is going to be rain and wind, and the occasional tornado, and then it’s going to get hot. Summer is not ambiguous in OKC. It’s just hot. But it’s not normally quite as windy in summer. So there’s that.

    Anyway-I can hardly wait to see the spring capsule! :)

    Oh…you might want to invest in one of those silver reflective things to put inside your windshield so you do not sear to your car seat in mid-July while you’re wearing shorts. That can sting a bit.

  • April

    March 27, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Looking forward to seeing the spring capsule next week. I have loved watching your capsule evolve! I agree with the other commenters – the Midwest weather requires new rules. As a fellow Oklahoma gal, I have a capsule of 50 items that I use for 6 months. At the 3 month mark I switch out clothes I already have – 5 jackets for 5 shorts and 5 pants for skirts. I found that shopping every 3 months wasn’t saving me that much money. So I only buy new items twice a year.

    I will also be looking forward to seeing your summer outfits. I find it very challenging to feel stylish when it’s 100 in August!!

  • Kristy

    March 27, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    I did a winter capsule and my favorite part was the ease of getting dressed. I was surprised at how many non-capsule items I wore. I thought that I get dressed a lot more than I do, I guess. I wore a lot of lounge clothes and saved my capsule items for when I actually left the house.

  • Stacey

    March 27, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    LUV the skirt.

  • Spring Capsule 2015 | whoorl

    April 6, 2015 at 7:19 am

    […] a lot longer to piece together than last season’s…mainly due to the factors I listed in my capsule round-up post, but also because my day-to-day life has really changed since leaving California. Hmm, maybe I […]

  • Dani Dixon

    June 5, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I am new into the capsule wardrobe challenge, and am loving seeing posts about everyone else dealing with it!! I try to post daily on instagram, so if you’re looking for inspiration, check it out!!